* Remy Cointreau breaks above 200 euros
* Utilities lead gains across sectors
* Trading volumes thinned by U.S. holiday
Nov 25 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Thursday as
investors bought into defensive sectors such as utilities amid
worries about soaring coronavirus cases across the continent.
The Europe-wide STOXX 600 index rose 0.4%, bouncing
off three-week lows hit on Wednesday. Utilities and
healthcare stocks, sectors considered as safer bets
during times of economic uncertainty, were among top gainers.
Utilities, which led the way, also received a boost from
Germany's push to step up climate protection, including a faster
expansion of renewables and an accelerated coal exit.
Technology stocks rose 0.6%, their first session of
gains in six days, after rising bond yields hit the high-growth
sector earlier this week.
After concerns about faster U.S. rate hikes dented global
sentiment, strong economic data helped Wall Street close higher
on Wednesday and supported markets across the globe.
The Thanksgiving holiday in the United States kept a lid on
activity elsewhere on Thursday.
"European markets have enjoyed a relatively upbeat day
today, with the lack of US involvement reducing volatility into
the close," Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG, wrote in
a client note.
Coronavirus infections are breaking records in parts of
Europe, prompting new curbs as the continent finds itself at the
epicentre of the pandemic once again.
Italy tightened the screws on people unwilling to take an
COVID-19 vaccine, while France said that face masks will become
compulsory again in many places and notably indoors to help
contain a new wave of infections.
"While rising COVID cases remain a key concern for mainland
European economies, we have seen the likes of the DAX and CAC
both gain ground," Mahony added.
Data earlier showed a weaker-than-expected German economic
expansion in the third quarter and tepid consumer sentiment
ahead of Christmas shopping season.
Remy Cointreau jumped 13.4% to a record high after
it raised its full-year profit outlook as strong demand for its
premium cognac drove a stronger-than-expected operating profit
in the first half.
Rival Pernod Ricard gained 2.5%, while
London-listed Diageo climbed 1.0%.
Radiation therapy equipment maker Elekta gained
5.7% after it reported a smaller-than-expected fall in
August-October earnings amid a growing need for cancer care and
Swiss Life gained 3.6% after it said it would
launch a new 1 billion Swiss franc ($1.07 billion) buyback and
raise its dividend payout ratio.
Norway's Adevinta, the world's largest classified
ads company, fell 7.2% after it posted a smaller-than-expected
rise in its third-quarter revenue.
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru;
Editing by Arun Koyyur, Kirsten Donovan)